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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
So in true rookie form, my Dad and I went out and tried to destroy our hot little small block during the first race out for the new SE class @ Moses Lake, WA this last weekend. I wanted to get a thread cooking in order to get some feedback from the informed on this site and also to send a warning shot out to those other newbies like us.
So what happened is the boat was running great for approx 2 laps at almost 7000 RPM (3/4 throttle) in the straights. On the 3rd lap, about halfway through, Dad says he started losing power and it continued to go away slowly until he pulled to the infield and shut it down. No smoke, no odd noises, nothing telling at that point. One weird thing that I can't believe is related but went down at the same time is that the tach was bouncing all over the place (not like the normal vibration bouncing, serious movement) and then it went dead. He was towed in after the heat ended, we yanked it out of the water and started the inspection process. First thing we did was start following the wires from the tach back and realized the starting solenoid (the end where the cables connect to the starter) was totally corroded and when we went to loosen the connection to clean the connection points the end actually broke apart. Could this have been the culprit to a major electrical issue that started the bigger problem??
IMG_6038.jpg

Upon further inspection we started taking out plugs. At that point we realized most of them were relatively loose, and a number of them were totally destroyed (porcelain GONE on the inside to just beyond the bottom of the plug) and looked like this:

IMG_6046.jpg

Next we drafted some help and performed a compression check. The drivers side of the engine showed over 120#, 125# and two of them were just over 150#. On the passenger side, the front two read around 125#, and heading towards the back then showed 40#, and then down to 25#. This is going off of memory and we didn't spray in any oil before the test...another baddie.
We then inspected the System 1 oil filter and luckily did not find any metal inside. To be safe, we were directed to keep it shut down for the rest of the weekend and took that advice.

I am more concerned of the events that lead up to the meltdown then I am of the unkown damage that I'm waiting to hear about. Heads will come off tomorrow and that will tell us a story........

So I'm going to keep this one going, for informational purposes as well as to get some educated feedback on the root cause of the issue. If anyone who was there can add some additional information or correct some bad information that i have posted in error PLEASE speak up.

Let the games begin............ -Shawn :confused:
 

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So in true rookie form, my Dad and I went out and tried to destroy our hot little small block during the first race out for the new SE class @ Moses Lake, WA this last weekend. I wanted to get a thread cooking in order to get some feedback from the informed on this site and also to send a warning shot out to those other newbies like us.
So what happened is the boat was running great for approx 2 laps at almost 7000 RPM (3/4 throttle) in the straights. On the 3rd lap, about halfway through, Dad says he started losing power and it continued to go away slowly until he pulled to the infield and shut it down. No smoke, no odd noises, nothing telling at that point. One weird thing that I can't believe is related but went down at the same time is that the tach was bouncing all over the place (not like the normal vibration bouncing, serious movement) and then it went dead. He was towed in after the heat ended, we yanked it out of the water and started the inspection process. First thing we did was start following the wires from the tach back and realized the starting solenoid (the end where the cables connect to the starter) was totally corroded and when we went to loosen the connection to clean the connection points the end actually broke apart. Could this have been the culprit to a major electrical issue that started the bigger problem??
View attachment 161660

Upon further inspection we started taking out plugs. At that point we realized most of them were relatively loose, and a number of them were totally destroyed (porcelain GONE on the inside to just beyond the bottom of the plug) and looked like this:

View attachment 161659

Next we drafted some help and performed a compression check. The drivers side of the engine showed over 120#, 125# and two of them were just over 150#. On the passenger side, the front two read around 125#, and heading towards the back then showed 40#, and then down to 25#. This is going off of memory and we didn't spray in any oil before the test...another baddie.
We then inspected the System 1 oil filter and luckily did not find any metal inside. To be safe, we were directed to keep it shut down for the rest of the weekend and took that advice.

I am more concerned of the events that lead up to the meltdown then I am of the unkown damage that I'm waiting to hear about. Heads will come off tomorrow and that will tell us a story........

So I'm going to keep this one going, for informational purposes as well as to get some educated feedback on the root cause of the issue. If anyone who was there can add some additional information or correct some bad information that i have posted in error PLEASE speak up.

Let the games begin............ -Shawn :confused:
jetting in carb..and or.Timing . You leaned it out, no the electrical problem did not cause this. Spend the money and put it on a Dyno and get it setup right.? why would you run it 3/4 throttle in the straightaway???? when a engine starts to lay over shut it down. you'll save yourself alot a agravation. Sounds like a easy fix. a couple of valves and you'll be ready to go.
 

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big time detonation. Most likely blew the head gasket on the one side.

Pull the rockers, blow air into the cylinder and see where it leaks to. Neighbor cylinder, water jackets? Just listen, you'll hear it.
If it is a head gasket, plan on replace both sides.

Like Jim said, either it was stupid lean, or the timing was to far advanced. I know the compression on the SEs is low, but you weren't trying to run 87 or 89 were you?

What are you using for a fuel pump?



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We watched (and listened) to the video of your initial test runs and noticed a lean pop. I could've sworn that Paul said he was going to contact you to make sure you fattened up that carburetor. It was dyno tested here at 1200 feet and now runs at sea level with rich oxygen content. Without tuning to that new elevation, the problem seems to have been running lean. I'm really glad that bottom end wasn't hurt! Just like Jim says, go through the heads and tune it to your conditions. Seeing you've burnt the electrodes off the spark plugs (which is part of what was going away in the power) tells most of the story.
 

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Excuse me, I thought it was a race.
In all honesty, it is, but they don't want to see anybody exceeding 85. Not sure whats inside the enigine, but at 7000, that could be enough to consider backing off the throttle.
It may want some gear. The Millers would be in a better position to determine that. For right now, it needs the heads removed and see where the compression is going.



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Discussion Starter #8
Jim, Jim, Jim. This is one of the classes were winning is arriving on schedule, not necessarily first.
Yeah yeah, very funny GN7.
The reason for 3/4 throttle was because Dad had a whopping 15 minutes of time in the boat before that initial race. We were trying to go out easy with the hopes of finding some bugs. Turning 7000 RPM @ 3/4 throttle with a small block in a "big" for the class Biesemeyer has got to get some credit though right????
-Shawn
 

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Yeah yeah, very funny GN7.
The reason for 3/4 throttle was because Dad had a whopping 15 minutes of time in the boat before that initial race. We were trying to go out easy with the hopes of finding some bugs. Turning 7000 RPM @ 3/4 throttle with a small block in a "big" for the class Biesemeyer has got to get some credit though right????
-Shawn


See above post Shaun. It CAN be very impressive. But with the right gear, the same small block in my 3000lb 20ft V bottom could spin 8500...for a short time.



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Discussion Starter #10
Additional Info

So one thing I read last night while doing some research was that if a plug (or plugs like in our case) is not tightened correctly you could draw air in past the threads from the outside and create a lean situation for yourself. I wonder if this could be a partial reason.........
Something else big-time I did not mention before that I should have is that the cylinder that had the lowest compression reading appeared to have an exhaust valve that was stuck open as we went through that side bumping the engine over carefully with the valve cover off checking valve clearances. Possibility that we have some pieces of porcelain from the plug on that one stuck in between the seat and the valve?
My dad went to work tonight taking things apart in his shop and will have those heads off tomorrow for inspection. At that point I'll post some pictures of the findings and drop the pair of heads off for inspection and probably a valve re-do.
Do you guys think we really need to go as far as taking the whole engine out and tearin it down to inspect everything if we didn't find anything in the filter? There is a reason we started in the SE class..... a limited budget.
-Shawn
 

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So one thing I read last night while doing some research was that if a plug (or plugs like in our case) is not tightened correctly you could draw air in past the threads from the outside and create a lean situation for yourself. I wonder if this could be a partial reason.........
Something else big-time I did not mention before that I should have is that the cylinder that had the lowest compression reading appeared to have an exhaust valve that was stuck open as we went through that side bumping the engine over carefully with the valve cover off checking valve clearances. Possibility that we have some pieces of porcelain from the plug on that one stuck in between the seat and the valve?
My dad went to work tonight taking things apart in his shop and will have those heads off tomorrow for inspection. At that point I'll post some pictures of the findings and drop the pair of heads off for inspection and probably a valve re-do.
Do you guys think we really need to go as far as taking the whole engine out and tearin it down to inspect everything if we didn't find anything in the filter? There is a reason we started in the SE class..... a limited budget.
-Shawn
Depends on what you find when you pull the heads. I would cut open the filter. It never hurts. If it was detonation, it can take out the rod bearings.
I doubt the loose plugs were the cause. If it was lean, it was probably even leaner at 3/4 throttle at that RPM.
If your running an HEI, severe miss firing will cause the tach to act erratic, as could a intermittent short at the start solenoid.



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Discussion Starter #12
See above post Shaun. It CAN be very impressive. But with the right gear, the same small block in my 3000lb 20ft V bottom could spin 8500...for a short time.
Yeah, true. We have 12's in it now, and the Miller's hooked us up with a set of 9's and 15's as well. Maybe we ought to think hard about dropping the 9's in it since we have it partially torn down anyway? I am going the right way with that right???? Paul and Buzz did you guys ever try anything other than the 15's??
Paul & Buzzz built the engine to handle very high RPM, and my understanding was that it would be bullet proof well beyond what we were turning. I have full faith in their knowledge and capabilities. It took a couple of dweebs with limited knowledge and capabilities to try and kill it though. I really think if it weren't for the quality of material used in the build and the precision of the assembly that the bottom of the boat would have been filled with oil and we would be in a much worse off spot. I actually feel lucky, believe it or not........
-Shawn
 

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Discussion Starter #13 (Edited)
Depends on what you find when you pull the heads. I would cut open the filter. It never hurts. If it was detonation, it can take out the rod bearings.
I doubt the loose plugs were the cause. If it was lean, it was probably even leaner at 3/4 throttle at that RPM.
If your running an HEI, severe miss firing will cause the tach to act erratic, as could a intermittent short at the start solenoid.
We have a System 1 (I think that's what it's called) filter that comes completely apart for inspection and cleaning. We broke it down and went through it very closely. We MAY have seen some shimmers, but that MAY have been our minds creating something that really wasn't there. Very hard to tell and I feel pretty confident that it passed that inspection.
And yes we are running an HEI. Is that something we can bench test or something? I didn't think about that one....
-Shawn
 

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Discussion Starter #14
We watched (and listened) to the video of your initial test runs and noticed a lean pop. I could've sworn that Paul said he was going to contact you to make sure you fattened up that carburetor. It was dyno tested here at 1200 feet and now runs at sea level with rich oxygen content. Without tuning to that new elevation, the problem seems to have been running lean. I'm really glad that bottom end wasn't hurt! Just like Jim says, go through the heads and tune it to your conditions. Seeing you've burnt the electrodes off the spark plugs (which is part of what was going away in the power) tells most of the story.
Paul fattened it for us before we got it, and Moses Lake where we ran it is ~ 1200ft elevation, so we figured we would actually be FAT last weekend so didn't even address it. We learned that lesson (and plenty more) the hard way. But hey that is what can happen with racing, it's what we signed up for, and something else will go wrong in the future that we'll learn from as well, I'm sure of it.
Still had a kick-a$$ weekend and hopefully we can pull it together for the next race in Issaquah.
-Shawn
 

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Discussion Starter #15
big time detonation. Most likely blew the head gasket on the one side.

Pull the rockers, blow air into the cylinder and see where it leaks to. Neighbor cylinder, water jackets? Just listen, you'll hear it.
If it is a head gasket, plan on replace both sides.

Like Jim said, either it was stupid lean, or the timing was to far advanced. I know the compression on the SEs is low, but you weren't trying to run 87 or 89 were you?

What are you using for a fuel pump?
Compression is under 10:1 and yes we used 91 octane pump gas.
Fuel pump is a mechanical unit and Paul talked it up pretty heavily. I gotta believe him when he says something is quality, he does everything 110% or better. Not sure what it is exactly though and the boat is not here to look, sorry.
 

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IMHO, having been out of the racing game for years and years.

Check EVERYTHING as it comes apart. Check valve timing, rotor position in relation to the timing marks (verifying TDC), valve lash, yada yada yada...

As for the air getting sucked in past the plugs causing a lean, I have only read about it and sort of call BS a little bit...Should be easy to see the remnants of it when you pull the heads...

If your power for the ignition system came from the same lug as shown on the starter, it absolutely could have been the beginning of it all, who really knows, if the ignition system was cutting out, there could have been misfired cylinders throughout the firing order and this could cause popping, rich conditions, backfires and all kinds of crazy things..

As stupid as it sounds, call it a successful day of racing.....No one got hurt, you didn't lose the boat, you learned a lot and you had fun....It don't get a lot better than that...:)devil

Good luck on your adventure...:partyguy:
 

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Compression is under 10:1 and yes we used 91 octane pump gas.
Fuel pump is a mechanical unit and Paul talked it up pretty heavily. I gotta believe him when he says something is quality, he does everything 110% or better. Not sure what it is exactly though and the boat is not here to look, sorry.
Yeah when I asked that I forgot Paul and company assembled that thing.
I am still going with it was lean, specially at 3/4 throttle, or somehow you got the timing off.
Hopefully, its nothing more than a head gasket, or a valve or two.
Good luck. Let us know what you see inside once you get the heads off.

One last thing, if it has a water pump, check the impeller and the lines leading to the pump, and then to the engine for blockage. Its possible this thing overheated and went into detonation.



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Yeah, true. We have 12's in it now, and the Miller's hooked us up with a set of 9's and 15's as well. Maybe we ought to think hard about dropping the 9's in it since we have it partially torn down anyway? I am going the right way with that right???? Paul and Buzz did you guys ever try anything other than the 15's??

-Shawn
No, the higher the number the lower the RPM for a given speed.
There are a number of things that could have lead to this Shaun. Fuel mixture, timing and engine heat. You need to check them all when you get it running again.

Just because an engine is built tough, no reason to buzz it if you can get the job done at a lower RPM.



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